Government queues at MS innovation centre

Government agencies are queuing up with project proposals for Microsoft's Innovation Centre.

Government agencies are queuing up with project proposals for Microsoft’s Innovation Centre.

Opened in December of 2002, the Wellington centre, in conjunction with Microsoft partners such as HP, develops proof-of-concept solutions that address business issues within local and central government agencies.

To date, 12 projects have been funded, in three rounds of funding, but there have been 38 proposals submitted from 22 different government agencies. The annual investment from Microsoft and its partners is around $1 million.

Projects to date include:

  • An architecture that allows government agencies to maintain multilingual websites, developed with Intergen.

  • A prototype for the Land Transport Safety Authority demonstrating the use of tablet PCs during driving tests, developed with Unisys.

  • Office “smart tags” for the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Education/Correspondence School.

  • A prototype for the NZ Fire Service demonstrating the use of tablet PCs during a fire incident, and using Vodafone GPRS for connectivity and GPS to show on a map where fire trucks are.

  • New Zealand Online Encyclopaedia data analysis for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, with Optimation.

  • A prototype for Te Papa demonstrating the use of iPaq handheld computers to enhance a museum visitor’s experience of exhibitions.

  • A web enquiry appointment prototype for Capital and Coast District Health Board, developed with Intergen and Synapse.

  • An online census prototype for Statistics New Zealand.
The idea stemmed from a centre developed in South Australia, based on the purchases of licences. “We’re able to prove that cutting-edge projects will work,” says centre manager Shane Bartle.

Microsoft regionally is looking at the New Zealand innovation model as a possibility to roll out in other countries.

Itanz has been working on a plan for an e-government application development centre that will help government agencies develop applications with the potential to commercialise them for wider sale.

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